The radio show Studio 360 asked if listeners had some song, play, book, etc. that changed their lives. This reminded me of something I'd been thinking about already recently (having in fact borrowed a related item from the library in this connection), so I submitted the following as a comment:
At age nine I read Lincoln Barnett's The Universe and Dr. Einstein. It was only my third sizable book, and it came at a time when I was distressed by disorder in the family's situation and a feeling that my parents weren't paying attention to me. I was also starting to get alienated from my schoolmates. I was very moody that year and talked a lot about killing myself.
Although my previous couple books already suggested an intellectual bent, I think that deepened with this one, as the idea that the Universe had a more beautiful, symmetrical order below the surface of things deeply appealed in these circumstances. The significance of this book for me may also be suggested by the fact that it was the first book (or anything else) that I mentally associated with a song that was on the air at the time -- and associated it with another one when I reread it the following year.